JANUARY 16, 2014 - Principals' Biweekly Message
Last week, I sent memoranda to local school superintendents to advise them about two items that also affect you. First, in response to some concerns expressed about the challenge of finding ample numbers of testing proctors to meet your needs, local school districts that submit a letter to me regarding this problem will be able to waive the proctor requirement as a hardship. Also, in response to some concerns expressed about the General Assembly's Read to Achieve law, we sent a memo out to clarify some points around the readability of the portfolio items, the option for local districts to submit their own locally-developed alternative assessment to the State Board of Education for approval and the convening of an advisory group to review the processes that have been followed to date to comply with the General Assembly's Read to Achieve law. These memos are available to view online in their entirety at www.ncpublicschools.org/superintendents.
In this Biweekly Principals' Message:
- State Board Meeting Highlights
- Public Hearings Scheduled to Receive Comments on State's Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education Act
- Evaluation Resources Reminder for the New Year
- Regional Teachers of the Year Announced
- Nominations Open for Jay Robinson Leadership Awards
- National School Bus Safety Week Poster Contest
- 2014 Arbor Day Photo Contest Deadline Approaching
- Stop Rx Abuse PSA Competition
- 10K For Solving Real-World Problems
- 2014 Siemens Summer of Learning Opportunities
At the State Board of Education meeting last week, members approved staff recommendations for program approval requests under the Innovative Education Initiatives Act, 26 charter schools for opening in August, Career and Technical Education revisions to Essential Standards, districts' and charter schools' requests for Standard Six flexibility, and a plan for digital learning in public schools. Among the Board's discussion items were renewal recommendations for charter schools with charters expiring in 2014, grading scales, and the Board's FY 2014-15 supplemental budget. The Board also recognized the 2013-14 National Title I Distinguished Schools Calvin Wiley Elementary (Guilford County Schools) and Jonathan Valley Elementary (Haywood County Schools). For a complete list of Board actions, visit http://stateboard.ncpublicschools.gov/minutes-actions/sbe-actions/2014.
Public Hearings Scheduled to Receive Comments on State's Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education Act
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction's Career and Technical Education Division has scheduled three public hearings and one webinar to receive comments on possible changes to the state's Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006. The Perkins Act provides increased focus on the academic achievement of career and technical education students and strengthens the connections between secondary and postsecondary education. For more information, including hearing dates, times and locations as well as other avenues to submit comments, please visit www.ncpublicschools.org and click on the appropriate link under “News.”
Resources for supporting all educator evaluation processes including upcoming webinars, archived presentations, and evaluation process manuals are available online at http://ncees.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/NCEES+Wiki. Please visit often and contact the professional development leads (also listed on this site) if you have questions. Questions also may be directed to NCDPI's Educator Evaluation Consultant Kimberly Simmons at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations to the following nine teachers who were selected to represent their regions and charter schools as the state's regional Teachers of the Year:
- North Central Region: Rhonda Holmes, Conway Middle (Northampton County Schools);
- Northeast Region: Charlene Evans, Plymouth High (Washington County Schools);
- Northwest Region: Alex Reynolds, Jesse Carson High (Rowan-Salisbury Schools);
- Southeast Region: Melissa Gillespie, Laney High (New Hanover County Schools);
- Southwest Region: James Ford, Garinger High (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools);
- Sandhills/South Central Region: Everlene Davis, South Columbus High (Columbus County Schools);
- Piedmont-Triad/Central Region: Kathy Saunders, Asheboro High (Asheboro City Schools);
- West Region: Melissa Faetz, South Macon Elementary (Macon County Schools); and
- Charter Schools: Chris Weaver, Evergreen Charter (Buncombe County).
The 2014-15 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year will be announced April 3 during a luncheon ceremony in Cary.
Nominations for the Jay Robinson Leadership Awards are now being accepted. The original award was established by the Public School Forum Board of Directors and the NC School Boards Association in honor of Dr. Jay Robinson, former superintendent Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, UNC vice president and chair of the State Board of Education. In 2011, the award was expanded to two awards: Exemplary Educator with statewide impact in K-12 education and Exemplary Leadership in Public Service with statewide impact in K-12 education. The awards may be given to anyone who has displayed innovative, creative and effective leadership for the public schools of North Carolina. The nominations MUST be postmarked by March 3. The honor includes a cash award sponsored by BB&T. To obtain a nomination form, contact Debra Jordan at email@example.com.
Rules for the 2014 National School Bus Safety Week Poster Contest have been posted on the School Bus Safety Web site at www.ncbussafety.org/Poster. The contest is open to students in grades K-8. The deadline for submission to the state (through your transportation department) is May 23.
The 2014 Arbor Day Photo contest, which is sponsored by the North Carolina Forest Service, is open to all students in the 5th through 12th grades. Students are encouraged to submit photographs of trees in or around urban areas, depicting this year's contest theme, “Young and Old.” The contest is designed to engage students' critical thinking skills by having them submit a photographer's statement discussing the contest theme and their interpretation of how their photo relates to the theme. The deadline for entries is Feb. 28. Prizes will be awarded to the top three photos. For more information or to download an entry form, please visit www.ncforestservice.gov/Urban/arbor_day_photo_contest.htm, or contact Jennifer Rall, photo contest coordinator, at Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attorney General Roy Cooper's office will be holding its Stop Rx Abuse competition for the third year to increase awareness about the dangers of youth prescription drug abuse. All students enrolled in grades nine through 12 are eligible to enter by creating a short public service announcement. The competition will run from March 1-April 15 and winners will receive prizes. In the coming weeks, each high school will receive detailed rules and guidelines about the competition, as well as a promotional poster to display via U.S. mail. To learn more, visit www.ncdoj.gov or e-mail questions to StopRxAbuse@ncdoj.gov.
The InvenTeam initiative, created by the Lemelson-MIT Program, offers an unparalleled opportunity for high school students to cultivate their creativity and experience invention. InvenTeams are teams of high school students, teachers and mentors that receive grants of up to $10,000 each to invent technological solutions to real-world problems. Each InvenTeam chooses its own problem to solve. Invention Ideas and InvenTeam projects span many fields from assistive devices to environmental technologies and consumer goods. Applicants are encouraged to consider needs of the world's poorest people (those earning $2/day) when brainstorming invention ideas. The initial application deadline is Feb. 28. More information is available online at http://web.mit.edu/inventeams/apply.html.
Siemens STEM Academy offers two, one-of-a-kind, all-expenses-paid professional development opportunities that provide unique experiences to middle and high school teachers from across the country looking to bolster STEM learning and gain pragmatic skills that they can translate back into the classroom. For all the details, please visit http://www.siemensstemacademy.com/index.cfm?event=showSTEMApplication&landing=1.